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Brittle Star Walks Like a Man

Whodathunk that brittle star walks like a man. After all, unlike the bilaterally symmetrical humans, the sea creature is round and has five limbs:

In a series of first-time experiments, Brown University evolutionary biologist Henry Astley discovered that brittle stars, despite having no brain, move in a very coordinated fashion, choosing a central arm to chart direction and then designating other limbs to propel it along. Yet when the brittle star wants to change direction, it designates a new front, meaning that it chooses a new center arm and two other limbs to move. Brittle stars have come up with a mechanism to choose any of its five limbs to be central control, each capable of determining direction or pitching in to help it move.

Not bad for a creature without a brain. Wait, come to think of it, that's something it has in common with some people I know! Link


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@halieus - brittle star is a radially symmetric organism, yet it "chooses" a front like a bilaterally symmetric organism (meaning we have a front side and a backside).

The neat thing is that if it wants to go backward, it doesn't turn around like we do. Instead it chooses a new front :)
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Check out Twaggies' very funny clip:

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